Media Releases

Ethnic and Cultural Stereotypes Frustrate Efforts to End Mens Violence Against Women

Australia is a multicultural and diverse country, with approximately a third of the Australian population born overseas and 20% with at least one parent born overseas. A new report released today explores how efforts to prevent men’s violence against women can be more effective when issues of diversity are taken into account.

The report, written by Dr Adele Murdolo and Dr Regina Quiazon of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and commissioned by White Ribbon Australia, investigates how to best work with immigrant and refugee men in the prevention of violence against women.

“In popular culture, immigrant and refugee men are represented as being more ‘traditional’, oppressive and violent while immigrant and refugee women are portrayed as more oppressed and passive,” said Dr Murdolo.

The report describes how these stereotypes of immigrant men and women and communities present major challenges to violence prevention work. It calls for a more complex and dynamic understanding of culture that takes into account gender, race and socio-economic status.

Sunila Kotwal, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at White Ribbon Australia, said: “Violence against women is an issue in every Australian community and culture. There is no evidence that immigrant and refugee men are more violent than other men.”

“We want everyone in Australia to hear our message: that violence against women is never acceptable and must end. With the support of the Australian and NSW Governments, White Ribbon is taking its grassroots campaign to Australia’s many culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The best practice strategies identified in this report will help us advance this work.”

The report reinforces the need for a variety of violence prevention initiatives in different settings: “To engage immigrant and refugee men in violence prevention, we need to look beyond their communities. Men don’t belong to just one culture or community, they’re also members of other social and cultural groups including workplaces, schools, communities and sports clubs,” said Dr Murdolo.

Overall, the report highlights the need for men to be guided by the leadership of women in violence prevention in Australia.

“We still have a lot to learn about the most effective practices , Dr Quiazon said, “but engaging men as partners to advance the work already being carried out by immigrant and refugee women will get us closer to achieving  gender equality for all women.”

This paper has been published as part of the White Ribbon Research Series. The full report is available here.


The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) is an award-winning women’s health organisation that promotes the wellbeing of immigrant and refugee women across Australia through advocacy, social action, multilingual education, research and capacity building.

MCWH is guided by the leadership of immigrant and refugee women in achieving equity and promoting their health and wellbeing. MCWH is committed to listening to, and representing, their voices in all their diversity, and in placing their issues at the centre of advocacy and policy development.

MCWH works together with immigrant and refugee women, community organisations, health practitioners, employers, communities and governments to achieve equity and improve health and wellbeing for immigrant and refugee women.


White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

The Vision of White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon), as part of this global movement, if for a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. The purpose is engaging men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too.

White Ribbon works through a primary prevention approach understanding that men are central to achieving the social change necessary to prevent men’s violence against women. We engage men to stand up, speak out and act to influence the actions of some men and demand change.

White Ribbon is dedicated to ensuring men are active advocates for changing the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that are at the root of men’s abuse of women. Through education, awareness-raising and marketing campaigns, partnerships and preventative programs that are independently evaluated, based on best practice and shown to be effective, we are highlighting the positive role men play in preventing men’s violence against women and enabling them to be part of this social change.


For media interviews contact Sally Burleigh: and 0419 516 889

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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